I had always wondered if my birth mom drank during pregnancy. I have a poem I wrote when I was around 18. There is a line in it, “Drinking while pregnant with me, you claim you didn’t know. Is it that you didn’t show?” A simple two verses, so much meaning. At that point, I knew a woman shouldn’t drink alot during pregnancy, but I didn’t know the implications. Just knew they shouldn’t. When I found out who my birth mom was, and what her life had been, I had all these emotions at once. I was angry that she chose to drink, and drink, and drink, all the time. I was sad that she was dead and
I couldn’t meet her to talk about her whys of drinking and getting pregnant . I was relieved I would hopefully find out some health history. The anger intensified after my diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Before the diagnosis I learned she drank alot, and I learned she was drunk giving birth. Yet, I still wasn’t fully aware of all the implications of drinking during pregnancy. I started a deep dive into websites, and the deeper I dove, the angrier I became. My nuances and struggles in life, many appeared to be because of my birth mom’s decision to drink. They could have been avoided! If she had just paid attention to her body! I got diagnosed, and the doctor told me,”Your life could have been different. You may not have struggled in school as much, or been as impulsive.” These words did not help to dissuade my anger. So I left that appointment even angrier, and sad because, “what if, man?!” Did I feel guilty about my anger? Sure as shit I did! Mind You, I knew my birth mom had been raised in an orphanage at birth and in foster care until 18 years of age. I knew she had skeletons and demons from that time period that I would never know. Yet, I didn’t stop to learn about what repercussions could come from foster care, and how alcoholism is a disease, and nobody signs up for it. How did my anger present itself? I cried, I wrote, but I never told anyone how I truly felt. I thought I should keep it secret. Then, I went to a Proof Alliance FASD conference in Minnesota in 2018. I went to this session where this lady, this powerhouse, got up and spoke. She was in recovery. She told her story after pregnancy and alcoholism. She told her story of recovery. It was in that meeting that I learned to hate the disease, not the person. My birth mom got put in an orphanage while her older brother got to stay with their immediate family. She was thrown around house to house like a bag of old clothes nobody wanted. I believe she turned to alcohol to numb her pain from past experiences. She didn’t drink to harm me. I dont think ANY woman does that. She wanted to not remember, wanted to numb the pain. So, I am not angry anymore. YES, sometimes I think how my brain would be different, and therefore my world, had she not drank. Yet, I follow those thoughts up with those that I am an advocate for those who don’t have a voice. I am making a difference, and that would not happen unless my birth mom picked up that bottle. I know it sounds so messed up, but it is how I found peace. I just wish she would have found peace also while she was alive. I hope she is at peace now, and knows I think of her often. I do wish she had known sobriety.